PDA

View Full Version : Ships and Terminology



SilverVistani
05-30-2007, 07:27 AM
I'm having a bit of trouble... I have a few stories I'd like to write that involve sailing, ocean adventure, that sort of thing. One focus around characters that are just "adventurers." More a matter of merchants than pirates or anything of that sort, but would need a vessel that they could protect themselves and their cargo... Where as the other one is more the stereotypical (though not particularly historically acurate) fantasy "Pirate crew" that will be raiding other ships and the like...

I know a bit about sailing terminology... A -bit- is enough to enjoy the little if read and watched that involves ships of the sort. But I've gotten a little lost otherwise. Especially with different types of ships... I was poking around the Wikipedia article on "Ship" (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ships) but with all the referencing and cross-referencing and oh goodness.

Anyway, I was looking at some of the different types of boats that they listed and I couldn't quite figure out what would be the best type of ship for either of these two crews.

Any assistance would be greatly appreciated... As well as if anyone knows of a place where I could find a very simple and clear diagram or glossary or something of the sort that details the different parts of a boat and some of the other terminology?

KanShu
05-30-2007, 10:08 AM
Hmm, tough question without knowing any more about your characters. In the end it's a matter of preference more than anything else, but there are a few general guidelines.

For the more battle-minded characters, a frigate is the optimal choice. Just keep in mind that they were very costly and would probably require the backing of a larger corporation. Even one of the larger brigs might be prohibitively expensive. The advantage of a frigate is that the square rigging and hull design allowed it to carry a hefty armament.

At the other end of the spectrum, you have the fore-and-aft rigged ships. These generally tended to be smaller and carried a limited number of cannons. The advantage of fore-and-aft rigging is that it can sail much closer to the wind than square rigging.

Another thing to consider is the range of these vessels. For long distances, the route is always plotted to be running downwind as much as possible, and this generally favors a square-rigged ship. The square sails generally required a little more manpower but performed better when running downwind and were much safer. A fore-and-aft rigged vessel had to be careful of an accidental jibe (when the wind catches the opposite side of the sail and sends it flying across deck) that could injure the crew and damage the spars. This also made square-rigged ships much safer in a storm.

So without knowing more it's hard to advise you, but I can make one recommendation: the Bermuda Sloop (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bermuda_sloop). It's fast, weatherly, and can carry a decent armament on the larger ones. They can have anywhere from 1-3 masts, so it's a pretty customizable option.

As for links, there I can be a little more helpful.

http://members.aol.com/batrnq/Surprise/Surprise1.htm
This site has a cross-section of the frigate HMS Surprise, just to help you get your bearings for a larger ship

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sail-plan
Here's a more complicated and nearly incomprehensible sail-plan. At the bottom of the page, however, is a useful silhouette representation of several different sail-plans.

http://www.nationalgeographic.com/volvooceanrace/interactives/sailing/index.html
This is a neat little sailing simulation that'll help you understand how to sail with and against the wind on a fore-and-aft rigged vessel. It's also useful in understanding how a jibe happens.

Hope this helps.

Higgins
05-30-2007, 08:51 PM
I'm having a bit of trouble... I have a few stories I'd like to write that involve sailing, ocean adventure, that sort of thing. One focus around characters that are just "adventurers." More a matter of merchants than pirates or anything of that sort, but would need a vessel that they could protect themselves and their cargo... Where as the other one is more the stereotypical (though not particularly historically acurate) fantasy "Pirate crew" that will be raiding other ships and the like...

I know a bit about sailing terminology... A -bit- is enough to enjoy the little if read and watched that involves ships of the sort. But I've gotten a little lost otherwise. Especially with different types of ships... I was poking around the Wikipedia article on "Ship" (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ships) but with all the referencing and cross-referencing and oh goodness.

Anyway, I was looking at some of the different types of boats that they listed and I couldn't quite figure out what would be the best type of ship for either of these two crews.

Any assistance would be greatly appreciated... As well as if anyone knows of a place where I could find a very simple and clear diagram or glossary or something of the sort that details the different parts of a boat and some of the other terminology?


What sort of vessel you would want would depend on the available technology. Apparently these days pirates use speedboats and rocket-propelled grenades. Indeed a lot of the time, pirates have used relatively small boats because they are often just the locals out to plunder passers-by. So a good pirate vessel is just whatever the fastest vessel that pirates can get and man and maintain.
Other things to think about are: how much crew and cargo and for how long? The Portuguese and Spanish explorers used variations on the Carrack and Caravel because they were going a long way and expecting trouble. Most of their guns were built and mounted to act like giant shotguns to repell boarders, but the Portuguese eventually hit upon the strategy of sailing in line and disabling their enemies at relatively long range since you could survive with a relatively small crew that way even far from home.



Here's some vessels:

http://www.thepirateking.com/ships/ship_types.htm

Higgins
05-30-2007, 08:58 PM
Anyway, I was looking at some of the different types of boats that they listed and I couldn't quite figure out what would be the best type of ship for either of these two crews.

Any assistance would be greatly appreciated... As well as if anyone knows of a place where I could find a very simple and clear diagram or glossary or something of the sort that details the different parts of a boat and some of the other terminology?

Oh and Samuel Eliot Morrison is a great source for what to do with an adventureous boat:

http://www.answers.com/topic/samuel-eliot-morison

SilverVistani
05-31-2007, 07:58 AM
Thank you both. ^_^ I'll definitely keep these links and I appreciate the helpful suggestions and information.

*hugs for both*

greg 1
05-31-2007, 10:09 AM
If you are close to a marine store or ships chandlery, buy 'Royce's Sailing Illustrated'. Known as the sailors bible, it is full of info on sailing ships, trade winds, clipper routes, etc.

Sloops, ketches, schooners, yawls, marconi rig, gaff rig and square sail are just a tiny bit of the information the book has to offer.

Better yet, if you would like, PM me with some specific questions and I'll give you the answers right from my own copy. I've been sailing for over ten years now on a 27 foot sloop and although I certianly don't know everything, I'm sure I can help you with some of your questions. From hot taring the lines (ropes) to caulking the planking, there is a lot of termonology that needs to be addressed to make your story believable

Evaine
05-31-2007, 10:45 PM
I gained a comprehensive knowledge of the names of sails on various Royal Navy ships, as well as other terminology, from diagrams on the end papers of Alexander Kent books (the Richard Bolitho series).
I've forgotten most of it, of course, but I can still tell the difference between a frigate and a schooner, and I know where to look for a top-gallant.